Romania to Germany

After our whirlwind trip to Vienna, Jacob and I piled back into the car and drove back to Romania for our final week in Cluj.

The week went quickly. The city decked itself out in Christmas lights and the first snow of the season dusted the streets. We had final coffee dates and goodbyes with friends, packed up our suitcases and flew to Germany - our European Christmas was about to start!

We landed in Germany to find ourselves in more snow - a lot more snow. We were warmly welcomed by Jacob's Oma (grandmother) who lives in a lovely little village nestled into the hills situated between Cologne and Frankfurt.

Honestly, we are being spoiled rotten. We had three advent calendars waiting for us in our bedroom, as well as a candy dish for St. Nicholas day and an overflow basket of sweets. Our bedroom is a bit like a German Willy Wonka's chocolate factory.

Due to the snow we spent the first couple of days relaxing in Oma's cosy little home. Being Southern Californians, we were delighted by the snow, giddily excited that we got to shovel the driveway. On our second day Jacob and I bundled up and headed into the snow to explore the village.

When the roads were cleared, Oma, Jacob, and I drove out to see some of the countryside and the traditional German towns that dot the landscape. Some of these towns are breathtakingly old. In Germany it's not unusual to hang out in a bar that was built in the 1400s.

Oma had planned a special excursion for the three of us - a two night stay in Bamberg, a small city several hours away, known as the "Venice of Germany". We had been looking forward to this trip for some time.

Bamberg did not disappoint. It was a bustling and colorful city, with a new scenic view around every corner. It was a perfect little trip, which also means I don't have any stories to entertain you with from our time in Bamberg. Oma knew that it would be the ideal way for us all to get a good taste of a German Christmas. I tell you what - the Germans are good at Christmas. We walked, we gaped, we drank Gluhwein (mulled wine), we played in the snow, we explored Christmas Markets, we ate, we drank beer, and we made friends with nice people in our hotel.

So instead of stories, here are some pictures.

We came home after a lovely few days in Bamberg, feeling relaxed and fully immersed in the Christmas season. Within just a day or two, we were off on another day trip to explore the nearby Rhine and Mosel Rivers.

The Rhine and Mosel are two rivers famous for the many castles, picturesque towns, and vineyards that line their banks. It was beautiful even through the intermittent rain we had that day - I can only imagine how gorgeous it must be in the height of summer. Jacob and I made a promise to ourselves to return one summer and take a luxurious river cruise down the Rhine.

We spent the day hunting for castles, spotting five in the small portion of the Rhine and Mosel that we visited. In the late afternoon the rain finally cleared and a full rainbow appeared as the background for a magnificent castle across the river. It was a miraculous moment.

In between our trips and sightseeing, Jacob and I have been enjoying our time at Oma's house; taking long walks whenever the the weather permits, and learning German when the weather doesn't. We are making progress in our German! (It's helpful to learn verbs you know...for several weeks all that Jacob and I were capable of doing was pointing at objects and naming them. It makes for boring conversations.)

Christmas is almost upon us! We hope you are enjoying the season and having a wonderful time with your loved ones. Look for another post on Christmas!